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Ode To The Vegemite Sandwich

Updated on September 12, 2014

Vegemite on Toast

By Tristanb [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons
By Tristanb [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons | Source

A Vegemite Sandwich is More Than Just a Sandwich

"You can't write a whole page about a vegemite sandwich!" This would be one response I might expect to hear were I to propose the suggestion to someone who "doesn't get it". After all, what we are actually talking about is two slices of bread, butter and a smear of a black pasty, salty substance that Australians love and the rest of the world just doesn't understand. So let me paint a picture for you.

A nod to John Keats...

Oh dark cylindrical jar of savouriness,

Oh joyful-pot of essence and sublime,

Surrender to me your flavour, how can one so describe?

A salty symphony which calls Australians home.

Enough of the poetry - what is it exactly? It's actually a yeast extract which first came about as a bi-product of the brewing process. Not an entirely new invention, in fact similar products had been known in Britain and Europe and it wasn't until supplies of these products were interrupted by World War I that Australian company Fred Walker & Co hired a food chemist, Cyril Callister to come up with a similar product from the used yeast being dumped by breweries.

Any Bread is Good for a Vegemite Sandwich

Making A Vegemite Sandwich

There's Really Nothing To It!

So let’s get to the nitty gritty – how to make a perfect vegemite sandwich.

First, start with the bread. Of course, this is a matter of preference but let me tell you that this works best on a really fresh soft white loaf. You know, the kind that as kids you could buy a half or a whole, wrapped in tissue paper and by the time you got home all the insides had been eaten out of. THAT’s the kind of bread we’re talking about. Take two nice thick slices and then spread it with almost softened butter. Now this is really important. The butter can’t be rock hard because we all know what happens to really fresh soft white bread when you try to spread it with a chunk of rock hard butter. But it shouldn’t be really soft either. It should have enough firmness in it that you get nice thick spread ridges because that’s going to meld with the vegemite and it is the combination of flavours that sets this sandwich apart from just an average vegemite sandwich. It goes without saying that we use BUTTER not margarine or some other fake butter look-alike spread.

Next the Vegemite. And this is the bit that is entirely subjective. Some will tell you that a little goes a long way. (That's not an invitation for any American puns by the way. We all know that Americans in general hate the stuff. This is largely due to their collective national sweet tooth. No, this is aimed at a far more discerning palate.) Others will dive in and slather it on. To those I would say, you can have too much of a good thing. In any case, simply spread to your liking and enjoy.

And there you have it!

Vegemite in a Tube

Vegemite in a Tube Concentrated Yeast Extract 145g
Vegemite in a Tube Concentrated Yeast Extract 145g

Vegemite in a tube is perfect for travellers. Never be without your favourite spread. And now that it's available in the US from Amazon, Aussie expats can always have some on hand.

 

What's Your Opinion of Vegemite?

Love it or Hate it?

See results

The Vegemite Girls and Other Vegemite Lore

In 1923 a product by the name of Vegemite was first marketed to Australians after the name was chosen by drawing it out of a hat. Recipients of the princely prize of £50 (an amount roughly equal to $3,500 sisters Hilda and Laurel Armstrong for their winning entry were known as the vegemite sisters for the rest of their lives.

In an effort to increase market share, Vegemite was given away free with Kraft Walker cheese products in the 1920's and was included in Australian Army rations during World War II.

Two decades after it first went to market Vegemite was well entrenched as an Australian staple and was used in 90 percent of Australian homes.

Vegemite Shrine - Now That's a Perfect Breakfast!

For the sad and lonely Australian traveler missing his daily supplement this may just take away some of the pain. But then again, the constant reminder might also be more painful for a withdrawing antipodean to bear.
For the sad and lonely Australian traveler missing his daily supplement this may just take away some of the pain. But then again, the constant reminder might also be more painful for a withdrawing antipodean to bear. | Source

More Ways With Vegemite

Vegemite is not just great on bread, it is equally good on crackers and although it is a champion in its own right it is also a great team player. Vegemite works really well with mild flavours to balance its strong, salty attributes. Try it with cheese, egg, avocado or tomato.

It also works well as a seasoning. Mix it into some boiling water to make a stock to add to gravies or stews and give a real boost to the flavour.


Here are some more suggestions from the makers:-

Add it to your next bolognaise in place of salt

Stir some into a roasted root vegetable soup

Combine it with golden syrup and garlic for delicious marinade for chicken. A twist on the popular honey soy.

Use in place of tomato paste as a pizza topping before adding your other toppings

And there's plenty more. See more Vegemite Recipes

Classic Vegemite Ad

© 2014 Lynne Schroeder

Are You Brave Enough To Give Vegemite A Try?

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    • profile image

      greenspirit 

      2 years ago

      Love the Keats riff on Vegemite

    • kenneth avery profile image

      Kenneth Avery 

      3 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      @ Elle,

      I did enjoy this hub. I cannot, for the life of me, describe in detail a certain food and the recipe. I get too mixed-nd consciously looking for a punchline.

      Great job and keep u the great work.

    • Elle-Dee-Esse profile imageAUTHOR

      Lynne Schroeder 

      3 years ago from Blue Mountains Australia

      Thanks Kenneth, glad you enjoyed the read

    • kenneth avery profile image

      Kenneth Avery 

      3 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Elle,

      This was a terrific hub. Well-presented and fun to read. But now I am famished. Voted up and all across. Keep up the fine work.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      4 years ago

      I have never tried this food product but am willing to give it a try. It looks like it would be handy as quick snack.

    • goatfury profile image

      Andrew Smith 

      4 years ago from Richmond, VA

      I am absolutely terrified to try this stuff. I think I'm brainwashed, although "Land Down Under" makes it sound like so much fun (much like all things from the 80s).

    • Elle-Dee-Esse profile imageAUTHOR

      Lynne Schroeder 

      4 years ago from Blue Mountains Australia

      Only one way to find out justholidays..

    • justholidays profile image

      justholidays 

      4 years ago

      Never tried vegemite, but I'd like to know how it tastes actually...

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